Halifax – The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) is expanding its latest Report Card effort into New Brunswick thanks to a partnership with the New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce. This report card is aimed at municipalities.

Like the annual Atlantic Canada High School Report Card that was started five years ago, AIMS will develop a Municipal Report Card (MRC) that will provide verifiable comparative performance data on key municipal services—data that will be available to the general public, on line. That means someone from Fredericton, for example, can compare their quality of service or tax rate to someone living in Dieppe. The research will take into account absolute performance on all measures, but will also utilize a methodology that accounts for differences in municipal environments.

“It will be an apples to apples comparison,” says Charles Cirtwill, AIMS acting President.

“These data will be extremely valuable in helping municipalities share best practices, and in providing residents the information they need to ask the right questions of municipal leaders. It will help drive change and improvement in the most positive way because it is based on real data that is accessible and easy to understand.”

Cirtwill says he’s pleased with the response so far, particularly in New Brunswick. The plan was to start the project in Nova Scotia and expand it to the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada as funding support was put in place. He says that changed when the New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce learned of the project.

“We were happy to be approached by the NBCC asking whether it could provide financial support to AIMS to expand the project,” says Cirtwill. “There is no doubt the Institute would have done a Municipal Report Card in New Brunswick, but the support of the New Brunswick Chamber has made it possible a lot sooner.”

NBCC Chair Paul O’Driscoll says, “The municipal report card is a real opportunity to assess current policies and to gather new and relevant data that can be translated into economic growth in our communities.”

“If the New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is to effectively lead and influence change in the province so that the tax burden is more equitably assessed and tax dollars better managed in the interests of the business community, our municipalities and others, we will need data. That’s why we feel it is so important now to move forward quickly with a Municipal Report Card (MRC),” he says.

AIMS’ researchers are collecting information on municipalities in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The Institute expects to publish the Nova Scotia MRC in the fall of 2008 and the New Brunswick Municipal Report Card in the summer of 2008. Although, with the impending NB municipal elections in May 2008, AIMS hopes to release an Interim Report Card in April that will include all data that the Institute is able to compile by that point.

The MRC is intended to provide detailed information on the effectiveness and efficiency of municipalities in delivering services to their residents. As with the high school report card, the detail in the municipal report card will depend on what information the governments have chosen to make available to the public. The better their reporting, the more informed taxpayers and the general public will be.

Prior to receiving this commitment from the New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, AIMS had received funding for scoping the MRC project from the Donner Canadian Foundation and the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

AIMS is a non-partisan, independent public policy think tank based in Halifax.


For further information, contact:

Charles Cirtwill, AIMS acting President

Paul O’Driscoll, Chair – New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce